Colombia’s largest left-wing rebel group is apologizing over a tribal leaders’ murder. The news comes on the heels of ongoing peace talks. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported this story from Bogota.
In a statement published on its website, Colombian guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Force, known as FARC, announced that they “profoundly lament” killing two members of the Nasa indigenous group last week. There are conflicting accounts as to what happened, but according to the Nasa community, two guards were shot dead after removing a billboard praising late FARC leader, Alfonso Cano. The FARC alleged the indigenous guard attacked the rebels.
The incident received national criticism as the killing conflicts with their message of peace during ongoing peace talks in Havana.
“while they continue to kill and lie, we Colombians will have no reason to believe that the FARC has any sincere intention to end the violence and the barbarism,” said Alejandro Ordonez, Colombia’s inspector general.
On Thursday, criticisms of the FARC and the peace process were hashed out in a forum held in Bogota hosted by local University El Rosario and the Newspaper El Tiempo. This was the first forum where government peace negotiators and critics of the talks met in public to debate the ongoing efforts to reach an agreement. Even the head government peace negotiator, Humberto De la Calle, had a message for the FARC.
“It is necessary to avoid these volatile manifestations when they address their victims. At times they have frankly and categorically said they are sorry, and other times they excuse their responsibility,” de la Calle said.
While the FARC faced criticism inside the forum, internationally they made headlines as Forbes magazine in Israel ranked them the 3rd richest terrorist organization in the world and is wealthier than al-Qaida, the Taliban, and Boko Haram combined.
According to the publication, the FARC’s principal sources of revenue are drug trafficking, kidnapping, piracy, illegal mining and war taxes-fees on civilians. The FARC has yet to respond to this affirmation by Forbes Israel, but the news is sure to add fuel to the flame of criticism from those opposed to a peace agreement.